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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

Upcoming Arunachal Pradesh Art and Literature Festival Boasts Of A Strictly Northeastern Lineup

  • IWB Post
  •  July 12, 2018

North-Easterners in India have long been sidelined in the narrative of the country and its culture. The community lies so marginalised that it has become the ‘Other’ within the country, a colonisation that no one acknowledges or talks about.

To redeem their rightful places in the Indian discourse, the Nort-Easterners have finally started putting a firm foot forward, asserting their presence through a plethora of endeavors, with the message that they are here and they matter.

The upcoming Arunachal Pradesh Art and Literature Festival (ALAF) can be seen as one such endeavor. Slated to be held in Itanagar on August 5 and 6, the event is being called state’s first literature festival. 

It is a “2-day extravaganza of Literature and Art in the state which will bring in focus the rich literature and art the state holds,” as per the Facebook page of the festival. The festival has a strictly “Northeastern” lineup of authors and artists.

15 people from varying profession and different walks of life have come together to organise the festival. The group members express that they are all “artists at heart” and are “testing the waters” through the event.

In an interaction with The Indian Express,  Karry Padu, one of the main forces behind the ALAF, said, “It’s gutsy to choose the arts as a full-time profession. In Arunachal Pradesh, it’s all about finding a government job. Nobody pursues art, not seriously anyway.”

PT Thongchi, another organiser and a government employee, said, “Unlike other Northeastern states, we don’t have a market for artists. So many end up making it their  secondary profession.”

He also shared that the idea struck him six months ago at an art exhibition in Itanagar. “There was so much talent. In February, we organised a small poetry festival called ‘Vivid’. Later, I called up Karry and suggested the idea of a festival that combines art and literature,” he recollected.

The festival organisers have involved Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society (APSL) in their pursuit. “The members belong to the older generation and a common complaint amongst them is the lack of interest from the youngsters. The festival is a result of an interesting mix of voices — both young and old,” says Karry.

Shillong-based author Ankush Saikia, historian and writer Dharamsing Teron from Karbi Anglong, filmmaker and cultural activist Moji Riba and artist Bengia Zarjo from Arunachal Pradesh, architect Kallol Kishore Brahmadutt, artist Throngkiuba Yimchungru from Nagaland, Shillong-based doodle artist Rinchen Choden, are some of the names from the festival lineup.

“We wanted it to be representatives of only Northeastern voices because there is so much talent here, and not enough platforms. Just our way of saying ‘hello, we are here, too’,” says Karry.

H/T: The Indian Express

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